All information on this page applies to both SharpStar2 and the original SharpStar design, unless otherwise noted.
Where can I order?
SharpStar is currently only available via the Lonely Speck website.
How do I use the SharpStar?
Check out our short video tutorial about using the SharpStar2 in the field:
The SharpStar2 is shown in the video above. The original SharpStar works the same way.
You can also download a copy of our Quick Start Guide (included with every order).
Why is my SharpStar2 not working? Why is it covered with paper?
If you can’t see any stars (or anything at all) through the SharpStar2, you might still have the factory paper backing applied. Your StarpStar2 may arrive with a layer of paper that protects the SharpStar during the laser manufacturing process and helps protect the surface of the SharpStar during shipping.
To remove this layer, use your fingernail to gently separate the paper from the SharpStar2 at a corner, then slowly peel the paper away. Gently remove any remnants in a similar fashion. When the paper is completely removed the SharpStar2 should appear clear and transparent, like glass.
I’m having trouble seeing the diffraction spikes in my images.
In order to get the best results from the SharpStar2, there are a few things that may help:
- Keep the SharpStar2 centered on the filter holder. Depending on the lens, the SharpStar2 may be sensitive to centering. If the SharpStar2 is off center, not all of the diffraction spikes may be visible. Shorter lenses (wide angle lenses) are the most sensitive to centering.
- Always center a bright target star (or planet) in the frame. The closer the star is to the center of the frame, the better the results.
- Dark skies make the best results. If the moon is full, contrast in the sky can be diminished and the SharpStar2 may not produce as pronounced of diffraction spikes.
- If you’re still having trouble, please feel free to contact us.
With which lenses is the SharpStar compatible?
SharpStar2 in an improved design that builds upon our original SharpStar design. SharpStar2 was designed to work on most DSLR and mirrorless system camera lenses. As with most wide field astrophotography, SharpStar2 will usually show the best results from relatively large-aperture, or “fast” lenses. The shorter the lens, the smaller the diffraction pattern and the more careful you’ll need to be to center your target star in the viewfinder.
See our SharpStar2 lens compatibility chart below:
In general, the lower the f/number and/or longer the focal length of the lens, the better (e.g. it won’t work well on a 10mm f/3.5 but will work well on a 12mm f/2).
Please note that the focal lengths and f/numbers marked on this chart are the ‘true’ focal lengths and f/numbers. Use the numbers marked directly on your lens, NOT the 35mm equivalent. That means that you should NOT multiply focal length by your camera’s crop-factor before checking the chart.
To demonstrate why higher f/numbers aren’t as good, check out the examples below of the diffraction spikes made with the SharpStar2 on a 16mm lens at different f/number settings:
As the f/number increases, the size and visibility of the diffraction spike pattern diminishes. The central spike at f/5.6 is still barely visible, bit it’s a little too difficult to see for us to recommend as a focusing aid. Use the SharpStar2 at lower f/numbers for the best results.
Which filter holder(s) do you recommend?
To mount a SharpStar you will need:
- Appropriately Sized Square Filter Holder System
- System Compatible Sized Adapter Ring for Your Lens Filter Thread Diameter
To determine which size filter holder system (67mm, 85mm, or 100mm) and which adapter ring you will need, you will need to know your lens’s filter thread diameter. The filter thread diameter is usually marked in millimeters on the front of your lens with a diameter (⌀) symbol like this:
In this example, the lens shown has a filter diameter of 49mm. Depending on your lens’s filter diameter size, we recommend the following systems. In general, pick the system size that’s larger than thread diameter of your lens:
67mm (lenses up to filter diameter of 62mm):
75mm (lenses up to filter diameter of 72mm):
85mm (lenses up to filter diameter of 77mm):
100mm (lenses up to filter diameter of 105mm):
Will the SharpStar fit a fixed hood lens like the Nikon 14-24mm/2.8 or the Rokinon 14mm/2.8?
At the moment, there is no off-the-shelf way to mount a SharpStar or SharpStar2 to fixed hood lenses. Fixed hood lenses often have no filter thread so mounting of a square filter is typically not possible without one of the very large (and expensive) filter holders like the Formatt Lucroit holder or Lee SW150. The large filter holders for these lenses position the SharpStar too far from the lens element for the SharpStar to work completely as intended.
We’re currently working on a custom SharpStar design called SharpStarWide that will be more suitable for fixed hood lenses. We hope to release SharpStarWide in the near future.
At the moment, there are a few lenses for which we’re directly developing a SharpStarWide:
- Rokinon/Samyang/Bower 14mm f/2.8
- Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
- Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8
If you have a lens that you would like to see added to this list for SharpStarWide, let us know in the email form below.
Would you like to be notified when the SharpStarWide for fixed-hood lenses is available?
Enter your email and we’ll let you know:
Do you ship outside the USA?
Yes, at the moment, orders for the SharpStar2 can be shipped internationally.
Shipping fees vary for all our international orders. International postage fees for small packages were increased as of January 2016 by the US Postal Service and our current pricing reflects those changes. It’s typically about $15 for packing and shipping to send a SharpStar order outside the USA.
Our international orders are shipped via USPS first-class mail and usually take 7-10 business days to arrive. Tracking may or may not be available depending on the destination. As the buyer, you are responsible for any import taxes (VAT, etc.), duties and custom fees that your country may impose at the time of receipt of the shipment. All international shipments are marked on the customs form as “Merchandise” with an accurate description of the value and contents (“Photographic Filter”) and labeled with the proper six digit HS Tariff Code for photographic filters: 900220. Please check with your local postal service for status updates on your order once it has left the USA.
More FAQs coming soon.
For further questions, just ask in the comments below or contact me directly. -Ian